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Montreal’s official opposition wants to create a ‘web patrol’ to prevent youth violence

Click to play video: 'The Opposition at Montreal City Hall is proposing a municipal ‘Web Squad’ to tackle vectors for youth violence online'
The Opposition at Montreal City Hall is proposing a municipal ‘Web Squad’ to tackle vectors for youth violence online
WATCH: Ensemble Montreal says social media has become a key culprit in growing youth violence in the city. The party is proposing a motion to create a "Web Squad" to keep track of it and combat it. As Olivia O’Malley reports, youth groups and people with experience in gang culture agree that disputes online often end up moving to the streets – Aug 10, 2022

Montreal’s official opposition wants the city and its police to create a “web patrol” to tackle online violence among young adults.

City councillors made the announcement Wednesday morning at a joint press conference with NSK, a local community group working with at-risk youth.

The proposed team would be made of social and community workers as well as the police.

“There’s a lack of education and there’s a lack of prevention for whatever reason,” said NSK board member, Will Baptiste.

Read more: Montreal forum to address youth violence following several murders concludes

The group claims violent disputes on social media often move to the streets.

According to data from the Montreal police, cybercrime has jumped from 20 to 30 per cent in the last five years, and 98 per cent of these cases involve the use of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.

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“We are talking about the lives of our children that are in peril right now. and it is absolutely imperative that we do that, because imagine if we don’t take care of it now, what’s going to happen in next generation?” asked Baptiste.

Read more: Montreal to host forum on youth violence in wake of teens killed over the past year

The official opposition also wants to promote prevention tools and develop spaces for self expression, such as a chat platform for cybercrime victims.

These would be complementary to a phone line for Montrealers affected by youth violence.

“I’m really happy that the opposition is is admitting and coming along with our plan for public security,” said Alain Vaillancourt, executive committee member responsible for public security.

Vaillancourt says he looks forward to debating the motion when the opposition tables it at city hall on Aug. 22.

Click to play video: 'City of Montreal pledges to put more resources forward to fight youth violence'
City of Montreal pledges to put more resources forward to fight youth violence

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